I am often asked if it is advisable to go into mediation with a narcissist. The answer is simple – not until you have applied enough pressure to get them to be negotiable. A narcissist has no motivation to negotiate until they have something to lose.
Identify their pain points
Your high-conflict ex has a few pain points that need to be identified and exploited. Here are some common pain points that I see:
- public persona
- criminal behaviour
- new spouse/partner
- any other skeletons in their closet
Exploiting a pain point means identifying it and letting it be known that taking the difficult road to resolution risks exposing this to the world.
Apply lots of pressure
Applying pressure means asking for information about these pain points. This may involve disclosure requests from your lawyer for medical records, tax documents, police records, CAS records, professional contracts, domestic contracts with the new spouse, and income reporting on the new spouse.
As one of my favourite lawyers likes to say, a day of questioning with me is like having a periscope shoved up your ass. The process should be painful and induce as much discomfort as legally permissible before considering mediation with a narcissist.
When it is ripe to mediate
This same lawyer likes to say, we need to get him/her hanging off the cliff begging for mercy before going to mediation. There needs to be a huge risk of exposure and potential loss before a narcissist will negotiate fairly. Only then will mediation suit their agenda.
So, be patient my friends. Be strategic and hopeful, not scared and desperate. Your time will come to make a deal and move forward.